Sunday 20 August 2017

Gaybo delivers the Gettysburg Address of radio handovers

Byrne's Lyric FM show, which has been interrupted by his cancer diagnosis, is probably the one he has always wanted to do, writes Declan Lynch

Gay Byrne loves music as much as anyone ever loved it. Photo: Mark Condren
Gay Byrne loves music as much as anyone ever loved it. Photo: Mark Condren
Declan Lynch

Declan Lynch

I happened to be listening to Gay Byrne's show on Lyric FM last Sunday when he handed over to the next presenter Evelyn Grant with a few lines about his possible cancer diagnosis which would require tests and "bangs and wallops", and would prevent him doing the show this week.

Being unprepared for it, for his listeners the moment passed with little more ceremony than any other radio handover, that peculiar convention whereby presenter speaks to presenter until such time as it seems decent to stop speaking and to get on with their lives.

I heard it on the radio in the kitchen as I was passing through, nothing much on my mind but the football match I was about to watch on Sky Sports and, as it landed, for a few moments I couldn't quite decide which part of the statement was the most significant for the speaker, because it consisted mainly of three parts to which he gave equal weight - the cancer bit, the line about what excellent health he had enjoyed throughout his life, and the part about being unavailable to present the show the following week. If you had asked me for an instant reaction, I'd probably have said that what Gaybo was really getting across here was his feeling of disappointment that he couldn't do the show - maybe even that most ancient of showbiz concerns, the idea that someone else might come in and do it better.

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